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Frequently Asked Questions

 

How can I be sure that my credit card information will be secure on your site?

You can shop online at The Collectible Stamps Gallery with confidence.  We have partnered with Authorize.net, a leading payment gateway since 1996, to offer safe and secure credit card transactions for our customers.  Your credit card information is protected by 128-bit Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology at all times. 

You also have the option to purchase with any major credit card using your PayPal account through PayPal's secure site, or by mailing a check, a money order, or your credit card information to The Collectible Stamps Gallery (please note that we only accept checks and money orders drawn on a U.S. bank).  For additional information, please visit our "How to Order" page (click here).

Will my stamps be safely shipped?

Your stamps will be carefully packaged within either a protective hard-board mailer or an envelope that includes stiffeners (the latter being our selectable "Economy" shipping method option).  In the unlikely event that damage occurs during transit, we will replace the items or refund your purchase and shipping expenses, whichever you prefer.  We will likely ask that you return the damaged items and shipping materials (to satisfy our private mailer's insurance requirements)- shipping expenses will be refunded.

What is your return policy?

We honor a "no questions asked" 30-day return policy.  You may return any items within 30 days of receipt for any reason for a full refund of the purchase price.  If we made a mistake in filling your order, we will also refund all shipping expenses.  We only ask that the items be returned in the condition received (if damaged during shipping to you, please see our answer to the "will my stamps be safely shipped" question above).

The retail value of the stamps you offer is often mentioned in the description.  What is the source of this retail value?

Unless otherwise indicated in the description, this retail value is from the Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue, a six-volume reference that identifies and values nearly every authentic postage stamp ever created in the entire world (Scott Publishing Co., 911 Vandemark Road, Sidney, OH 45365).  This catalogue is the most popular, and most widely utilized, among stamp collectors in the United States. 

What is meant by the term "mint" (as in "mint stamp")?

A mint stamp is a stamp in the same state as originally issued: unused (not cancelled), undamaged, unhinged (a stamp hinge has never been placed on the stamp), and with full original gum or adhesive (if issued with gum or adhesive).  Any deviation from this description will be clearly noted in the item description. Note that the paper of very old stamps may show signs of natural aging.

Can you tell me about the quality of the stamps I will receive?

At The Collectible Stamps Gallery, we are very quality conscious.  The images you see are generally stock photos but they are representative of the stamps you will receive (and, since we strive to send the best available on-hand,  the stamps you receive will often be even better-centered).  Unless an item description mentions that an item is of "2nd quality," or faulty, or well off-centered, you will receive fault-free stamps that grade F/VF or better.

What is a "self-adhesive" stamp?

A self-adhesive stamp has adhesive on the back that adheres to envelope paper by the application of pressure alone (i.e., they do not have water-activated "gum").  Many modern stamps are of the self-adhesive variety.  These stamps are issued with backing paper ("coated paper release liner"), and the self-adhesive stamps offered by The Collectible Stamps Gallery are supplied with their original backing paper unless it is specifically mentioned in the item description that the stamp(s) will be supplied on generic backing paper (some stamps - including most U.S. self-adhesive booklet stamps- were issued on backing paper that lacks die-cutting/perforations; individual stamps offered from these issues are carefully transferred to a generic backing paper).  Stamps offered on generic backing paper retain their undamaged adhesive and can be easily removed from the backing paper if desired.

When viewing our images of self-adhesive stamps, you may notice that the edges are a bit fuzzy or irregular- this is due to the backing paper, not the stamp (self-adhesive stamps usually have die-cut simulated perforations, but their backing paper is often not die-cut the same way, so the stamp edges and backing paper edges do not line up perfectly).  If a stamp is of the self-adhesive variety, this will be noted in the item description.  If "self-adhesive" is not mentioned in the item description, then the stamp(s) were issued with water-activated gum (sometimes termed, "lick-and-stick" stamps).

What is an "imperforate" stamp?

Perforations are the rows of small holes which allow stamps to be separated easily.  Not all stamp sheets are issued with perforations between the stamps;  stamps which lack perforations are termed "imperforate."  The first postage stamps issued by many countries, including the United Stamps, were imperforate stamps (the stamps were separated with scissors or by tearing along a metal straight edge).  Modern imperforate stamps are generally issued with collectors in mind- they are often issued in much smaller numbers than the same design with perforations.

Can I determine the actual size of the stamps that you offer?

Yes- the actual sizes of the stamps, blocks of stamps, and souvenir sheets available at The Collectible Stamps Gallery are listed in the product detail descriptions.  The measurements are provided in millimeters (height X width), which, due to the generally small size of stamps, is the convention among stamp collectors. 

We provide the actual dimensions of our stamps for several reasons: (1) with the large variety of computer monitors and monitor settings in use, it would be impossible for us to reproduce the actual size of stamps with the images on our site.  (2)  We also offer stamp display pages (stockpages) and mounts that are available with different pocket sizes (see Supplies); knowing the actual sizes of your stamps or souvenir sheets would be helpful in choosing the appropriate display page or mount size (see our Display Ideas page for additional information).  (3)  Many of our customers purchase stamps for framing, scrapbooking, or other projects where knowing the actual size of the stamps prior to purchase may be important.

How can I safely display or store the stamps that I purchase?

We have devoted a section of our website to this topic; please visit our Display Ideas page.  If you have additional display ideas or tips that we can share with our customers, we would love to hear about them.

What happens if an item I purchase is out of stock?

If an item is listed for sale on our website, we had at least one of that item in stock at sometime during the current business day.  Out of stock items are removed from our website as soon as possible (always on the same day that an item goes out of stock).  Occasionally, however, we will receive multiple orders within a short period of time for an item in limited supply.  If you purchase an item that is out of stock, we will refund the charge to your credit card (or send a refund check if you paid by check or money order) and send you an email notification of this order change with an estimation of when the item will be back in stock.

I would like to order more than one of a particular item; how many of each item do you have in stock?

The quantity of each item we have in inventory varies from one to over a hundred, with most being in quantities of 1-20.  If we do not have the quantity that you request, we will let you know, via email, as soon as possible.  We will inform you of the quantity we have in stock and ask whether you would like us proceed in processing your order with the lower quantity.

I would like a large number (50 or more) of a particular U.S. mint stamp for use on special mailings (wedding announcements, for example).  Can you supply a large number of the stamp I want at a reduced price?

With old U.S. mint stamps still being valid for postage (at the denomination printed on the stamp), we frequently receive this request.  We generally do not have a problem acquiring a large quantity of the stamp you desire within 7-10 business days.  Before obtaining the stamps, we will make sure we are in agreement on a wholesale price (significantly reduced from our list price per stamp).